Time to analyze Big East football’s non-conference schedules. Why? Because for one last year, the Big East has an automatic berth to the BCS. One of these teams will play in a major bowl. Next year, when Louisville and Rutgers move on to the ACC and Big Ten, respectively, this conference becomes the American Athletic Conference and loses its standing with a major bowl berth:
1. SMU: Texas Tech, Montana State, at Texas A&M, at TCU. Heck of a schedule by the Mustangs. Three old Southwest Conference foes, all of them decent teams at least.
2. Central Florida: Akron, at Florida International, at Penn State, South Carolina. Few teams will play a pair of opponents as strong as the Nittany Lions and Gamecocks.
3. South Florida: McNeese State, at Michigan State, Florida Atlantic, Miami. Typically strong schedule by the Bulls.
4. Connecticut: Towson, Maryland, Michigan, at Buffalo. UConn also hosts South Florida, Louisville and Rutgers. That’s a good home schedule.
5. Temple: at Notre Dame, Fordham, at Idaho, Army. Notre Dame solves a lot of scheduling woes.
6. Cincinnati: Purdue, at Illinois, Northwestern Louisiana, at Miami-Ohio. Decent schedule for a program fighting for its football life.
7. Rutgers: at Fresno State, Norfolk State, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas. The Scarlet Knights won in the Ozarks last season.
8. Houston: Southern U., Rice at Reliant Stadium, at Texas-San Antonio, Brigham Young. Not a great schedule, but the Cougars move into a new stadium in 2014.
9. Louisville: Ohio U., Eastern Kentucky, at Kentucky, Florida International. Not a schedule befitting a program of the Cardinals’ status.
10. Memphis: Duke, at Middle Tennessee, Arkansas State, Tennessee-Martin. Actually, for Memphis’ lack of standing in college football, this isn’t an awful schedule.